Ocean Drilling Floats Ambitious Plans for Growth

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Science  13 Nov 1998:
Vol. 282, Issue 5392, pp. 1251-1252
DOI: 10.1126/science.282.5392.1251

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Some of the most tempting scientific targets on the ocean floor, including unstable sediments, oil- and gas-rich regions, and the deepest reaches of the crust, have been off limits to the 22-nation Ocean Drilling Program because it lacks a ship with a riser, which allows drillers to flush heavy debris from deep holes and shore up unstable sediments. Next year Japan hopes to begin building a $350 million drill ship that could open up these forbidden zones. But researchers don't know if their governments will be willing to spend the extra money needed to operate it and a second ship that could drill less ambitious holes in rapid succession to satisfy the needs of paleooceanographers.